The Wilber Group Wilber Lane Law Group Harrassing phone calls regarding unproveable claims of liability for property damage Bloomington Illinois
THIS story began when a neighbor to a rental property that I own claimed that a shingle fell off my roof and damaged her new car. The neighbor has never liked me, probably due to the fact that she is a section 8 renter, and I was a homeowner at a very young age. She had previously accused me of several ridiculuos transgressions, including putting nails in her tires, violating noise ordinances while fixing my home, and accusing her sons of stealing. (Which they did, when they took steaks off my grill when I was inside) All these issues were settled in my favor by the local Police. When she informed me of the damage to her new car, and asked what I was going to do about it, I asked her to provide the shingle that hit the vehicle. She could not do so, and I also noticed that her landlord's roof was in a serious state of disrepair. I then informed her that since she was undoubtedly making payments on said vehicle, (she couldn't afford to buy a bicycle with cash) that she should contact her insurance company, which she did.
Several months later, I recieved a call from an insurance company regarding the situation. I told them my side of the story, and they apologised, saying that they would no longer be calling me. By the way, she parks at least 20 yards from my roof, and right under her own. Later that month I recieved a call from a subrogation firm in New York claiming that I owed their client money. Once again I told my story, recieved an apology and went about my business. Yet another firm contacted me a few weeks later. This firm was conveniently located in the same building as the first. When I pointed this out, they became very rude and threatened a lawsuit. This is all over $1100, by the way. I told them that I would be happy to refer them to my lawyer, and they hung up. A short time later, I was contacted by the Wilber Group.
The first caller was very rude and demanding, saying that I didn't understand how serious the situation was. I asked the person's name and position. They refused to state the capacity in which they were employed by the Wilber Group. To this, I responded that I completely understood subrogation and its subtle nuances, as they had tried this crzap with me before on another occaision. Then it got weird. The legal clerk that I spoke to took on an attitude usually reserved for a middle school debate team! he asked me if I wanted him to sue me, and I responded, Yes! Send me the paperwork. He followed this by repeating several times, Is that what you really want?' to which I affirmed my admonition several times before discontinuing the conversation. I have recieved calls weekly in the amount of 5-15 since this happened. No letters, other than simple demands for money have been sent to me. Every time I feel like yelling at them, I remind them that demands are not the same as suits, and hang up.
Now, back to the REAL beginning... In 2011, my construction company recieved a call from a client stating that she had water coming through her roof after a severe series of snow storms in northern CT. She informed me that the insurance carrier had told her to have the roof professionally cleared and to have the exterior damage assessed. We got there on 2/2/2011 to clear the roof. I informed her that the new roof that she had installed was not done properly, leading to the ice dams getting into the home. I asked her if she had filed a claim, to which she stated had been done on 1/15/2011, and the adjuster was the one who told her to have it cleared. I looked at the claim adjustment and told her to contact me if she needed further assistance. She told me that her son's friend was a contractor, and she would probably have him make the repairs, at which point I submitted my bill to the insurer and went on my way.
In August of 2011, I was on my way to a vacation when I recieved a call from the Wilber Group. (At that time, Wilber Lane Law Group) The rude woman I spoke to told me that I owed $8000 in damages for a roof failure, but wouldn't tell me an address, client name, or even a date of loss. Now, as a former business student who has studied business law amongst other things, I told her that I would not speak of ambiguities to which I was not privy the details. The next call was more of a plea, her stating that it was only $8000, and it was in my best interest to just pay it. I told her that the money was not really the issue, but I needed proof of fault and more details regarding the situation. She reluctantly gave me the original claim number, which I assume she thought would do me no good. However, I hhad made a copy of all of the adjustments that I had seen over the course of the prior year due to the excessive number of similar claims in my area, in order to keep them all straight. After reviewing my files, I tracked down the correct address and client and attempted to make contact in order to get to the bottom of this.
Now, it gets interesting. The client, who lives no more than 2.5 miles from me, wouldn't return any messages I left. In the meantime, I still was recieving demands from Wilber for the money. I tracked her down to a phone number at her vacation home, which apparently didn't have caller ID. When she answered, she was obviously shaken, apologetic and very nervous. She informed me that the Wilber Group, as an agent for her insurer, had told her that if she spoke with me regarding the claim that SHE would be responsible for the $8000!!! I assured her that CT law does not allow for third party legal groups to admonish anyone to do any such thing. She confirmed that the damage could not have been my fault, as the claim was filed a full two weeks before I was even on the premesis, and that if necessary, she would sign an affidavit to that. I thanked her and called my lawyer.
I told my lawyer that I thought he would find their threatening letters, and the situation itself amusing. He, like most lawyers, is very serious, and didn't initially agree with me.... until I showed him the letters! He laughedd out loud and told his legal secretary to draft a letter to these fools, as he called tham. They apparently recieved the letter and forgot about me, until the car thing...
This series of unfortunate events has led me to become an advocate for the poor, unsuspecting and undereducated people upon which the Wilber Group and its like, prefer to prey. Several other contractors told me that they had been scared by tactics like these, and had just paid what was demanded to avoid a problem. I was truly shocked by this! Why would anyone agree to pay for something if they knew they weren't responsible? Especially when the demands weren't delivered by a court of law or other state authority? I put up flyers in several locations frequented by contractors in the area, informing them of the scam and giving my contact information for support. I advised several to seek legal representation, while also telling them that a good, F off! works fine if they don't feel like talking to these people.
My reseearch on this company has led me to believe that they are in the practice of using collegiate interns to make their harrassing calls for them, and refusing to let any of their marks talk to a real attorney. When I did get to speak woth someone in charge, they refused to answer my questions of when did you pass the bar, and in which state are you licensed to practice law? Shady doesn't even begin to describe these behaviors. My suggestion is to add their number to a blocked call list on your phone, don't say anything affirmative about their questioning, and letting others know to be aware of people like this.